Getting to the Roots – Life Reinforces Basic Quality Concepts

Getting to the Roots – Life Reinforces Basic Quality Concepts


I will again start my blog with a fitting quote – (pardon the improper English)

“Normal people believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.”

(Author Unknown)



It never ceases to amaze me how basic quality concepts and teachings are reinforced again and again.


Getting to the roots

I take quality seriously and the things that I have learned from many good teachers over the years. I am always looking at the linkages and relationships between the different areas of my life. Some that are very important to me are my health & fitness, and sound quality principles.


This past weekend I was out doing some yard work and began pulling up some weeds that had started. Initially, my first instinct was to grasp the leafy portion and pull the wed up. Unfortunately some of them had taken root and were quite difficult to get out of the ground and the leafy part of the weed broke off leaving the root. This reminded me of a very important quality principle of “getting to the root” of problems. Some might be happy with merely pulling the leafy part of the weed off and continued to do the same with the others when the same issue came up. I can hear it now “Hey as long as I can’t see the weed I am happy”. Unfortunately this mentality goes on in our organizations as well.


For any of us that have experienced this weed pulling experience and went on to the next weed we always find that the pesky weed comes back. This same phenomenon occurs in our organizations as well. A problem not truly solved will be back to cause grief again and again. To make matters worse, other “weeds” (A.K.A problems) usually follow and before you know it, the number of them is out of control and we end up giving up in frustration or tearing our lawns up to start over.


This serves to illustrate the importance of taking proactive steps with our yards and our organizations. Many believe that you treat the problem once and it is taken care of and forget about the maintenance part of the equation. This principle applies to lawns and organizations. For example – do you shower and are “good for life”? If you have a really great workout – does that mean you do not have to do it again? Absolutely not! Our lawns, our Lives,  our health and yes our organizations (employees, quality systems, products, etc…) all require monitoring, measuring and maintenance.


What are some of these preventive activities as they relate to our organizations?:

a)      Solid FMEA processes.

b)      Effective training processes for employees.

c)      Developing and maintaining solid and effective processes.

d)      Measurement of our processes (Product and QMS processes) and acting on the data.

e)      Involvement of employees in the planning and implementation of the process and organizational operations.

f)        Implementing, enforcing and reinforcing quality at the source.

g)      Simplify, stabilize and standardize everything (more to follow on this in another blog article).

h)      Develop and monitor “S.M.A.R.T.” Goals for everyone and the organization as a whole.

i)        Hold people accountable and not their hands.

j)        Audit your processes.                    


The bottom line is to make sure that we actually gather the data on our problems and take the time to properly dig until we get to the root of the problems before they overtake the “garden”.


Here is to improvement.



About markqualitynetzel

Quality Management professional with over 30 years experience in manufacturing (metal stamping, assembly, fabrication, welding, coatings, molding) and training.

Posted on July 31, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Mark – great job. Like your Deming articles, too. Good summaries. If you ever want to change your tagline (Just another site) use Dashboard > Settings > General > Tagline and type in something more about your great site. Then ‘Update’ and you’re ready to go.

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